The Smithsonian Folklife festival is fast approaching! The festival provides two free weekends of educational and fun activities and entertainment.
As the 50th edition of the Smithsonian Folklife festival begins on June 29, over one million people are expected to attend over the course of two weekends. The Folklife festival is the biggest yearly cultural event in Washington D.C. and features bearers of longstanding traditions from each of the regions in the United States, over 100 Native American groups and countless ethnic groups within the U.S. and 90 nations worldwide.
During the two weekends of the free festival, attendees can enjoy celebratory performances, cooking demos, crafts, music, song and dance as well as expert discussions on various cultural issues. Visitors are given the chance to actively participate in learning traditional recipes, crafts and games, singing and dancing, while also being given the chance to ask questions.
The tradition bearers of the festival each year hope to place an emphasis on the sharing of culture and traditions, and to help breakdown stereotypes while promoting understanding, encouraging communication and the creation of new ideas.
This year’s festival is grouped into three main categories, one of which is Circus Arts. The Circus Arts portion of the festival gives visitors the chance to see performances as well as to learn what goes on behind-the-scenes of a circus. Visitors also can learn from the visionaries who are building upon the diversity and history of American circus arts. If you have never been to the circus, the Folklife festival is your chance to see circus performances for free.
The “On the Move” part of the programming is an exploration of how the United States has changed throughout history. While “On the Move” examines the transformation of cultures and communities, it also is host to workshops, demos, discussions, sports and performances. From the Bolivian dance and Brazilian capoeira demos to the poetry and hip hop musical performances and visual arts displays and discussions, “On the Move” presents a variety of entertainment and educational programming throughout both weekends. It is certain to have something for everyone!
As the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary, “The 50 years. 50 exhibits” part of the programming presents historical objects used and created by painters, carvers, potters and silversmiths. Attendees will have the chance to explore objects of all kinds such as custom statues, vases, masks, painted scrolls and much more. They'll also have the chance to learn about the process of making the various items that have been brought together in one collection for visitors to see.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place on the National Mall between 7th and 12th streets as well as in the Arts and Industries Building. Food Concessions will be on hand and serving both American and international food dishes, beers and a selection of different smoothies, gelato, gelato pops and beverages. For program schedules and general information, visit the Folklife Festival website